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Re: Re: Re: Casting

Posted by: tom.guerry (tom.guerry@kp.org) on Sat May 11 10:42:04 2002

>>> I've been thinking about the concept of "casting", because it looks like my daughter is reaching for the ball, extending her arms too far. Obviously, the player needs to be properly positioned in the box, and an outside pitch can make anyone appear to be "reaching" on two strikes.
> >
> > In linear hitting (LM) mechanics, since the hands move more directly towards the ball, it's pretty easy to spot the problem, and we use the "fence drill" and the "two-tee drill" (inside/outside tee) to reduce the problem. I understand Jack's perspective on the fence drill, i.e. it forces the hands into a linear path, rather than the preferred, torque producing arc. Moreover, with rotational mechanics (RM), I would naturally expect the arms to "cast" more than with LM, since the hands start back further, and are moving in an arc. Then again, players using RM are still supposed to keep their hands "inside the ball".
> >
> > So, how far is too much, what causes this, and how do we fix it? My guess right now is that her lead arm is too slack, and she's using her lead-arm triceps muscle to accelerate the bat into the impact zone (i.e. as with the LM that she's used for six years, snapping the arm out into the zone). This would force her hands to “cast” outward.
> >
> > How much a role does the lead-arm triceps play in swing the bat with RM? Seems that if the lead arm is supposed to be extended (i.e. no slack) through most of the swing, and torso rotation pulls it through the zone, that the tricep stretches instead of compresses, and should play little role in accelerating the bat.
> >
> > Opinions? Feed back?
> >
> > Thanks to all.. Scott B. <<<
> >
> > Hi Scott
> >
> > Your last two paragraphs accurately describe a key difference between LM and RM. As you pointed out, the LM batter has a lot of “slack” or flex in the lead-arm and extends straight toward contact. The RM has his/her arm fairly straight from initiation to contact. Therefore, with the RM batter, “casting” is not caused from straightening (or barring) the lead-arm. Casting occurs when the lead-arm is cast away from the chest by the extension of the back-arm. There is NO casting if the “barred” lead-arm remains across (or close to) the chest and allows shoulder rotation to accelerate the hands into a circular hand-path. --- On outside pitches, shoulder and hip rotation slows to allow the lead-arm to “purposely” cast away from the chest for the hands to arc into a wider path.
> >
> > PS: Actually, it would be more accurate to say; the resistance offered by a wider hand-path slows hip and shoulder rotation.
> >
> > Jack Mankin
> >
> >
> Jack-
> while it is true that extending the top hand arm and pushing the lead arm off the chest could be called casting, it is also possible to cast without the lead arm leaving the chest. If the top hand elbow extends at the beginning of the swing, regardless of the lead arm position, the swing will cast.
> In fact, many young players do exactly that. Rotation immediately extends both arms and even though the arms don't push, they drag and cast.
> It is the premature change from hands in to the V position early in rotation that is casting IMO and that is related primarily to the top hand elbow extending too early.
> As a note, a very good hitter on our team rotates so hard that he sometimes casts because the centrifugal force is so strong, the bat pulls out of rotation and he isn't strong enough to keep his hands in long enough. As advanced version of many youth league players' casting.
> More theoretical speculation,concrete thinkers beware:

It's hard to discuss casting without some agreement on terms.In general casting is a derogatory term.In the context of the way Jack describes the swing,it is a flaw in the "transfer mechanics" part of the swing.One way to think of it is the handpath straightening/losing its circularity/lessening its arc/extending/becoming straighter.There is also the third dimension to this which is the handpath changing in a way that the bat does not "fall" into the plane perpendicular to the power plane of torso rotation and stay there,sometimes referred to as a wobble in the swing.From a 3d perspective this means getting away from the center of rotation as opposed to the 2d thinking of just getting away from the body.In 2d,you could still keep the hands as close to the body while they are "casting" away from the center of rotation/overshooting the plane of power/then getting back in plane with a wobble.Keep the handpath spherical.

As soon as the handpath extends/loses its circularity,there is a huge demand to transfer whatever enegy is in the torso and stop torso rotation.If this extension/linearity is "premature" then there isn't time for the lower body to get the entire body going then transfer it's energy to the torso.There is a short circuit preventing the desired "lower body swing".The lower body energy is inefficiently transferred and does not transform well into batspeed/angular acceleration of bathead.

Another way to state the difference between LM and RM,then is that in RM,we want transfer mechanics that permit the bathead to swing out(in the power plane) before the handpath loses it's circularity(in 3d).If it doesn't,then transfer of energy from the rotating torso is shut down as in Jack's steering wheel knob demonstration.

In the case of middle-in contact with bht mechanics,the handpath stays circular or continues tightening its arc/hooking through contact with no casting prior to contact.The bathead swings out in the power plane perpendicular to the rotating torso.Hooking the handpath relatively speeds up the handpath arc and relatively delays the bathead arc coming out which creates excellent batspeed and contact prior to deceleration at an angle that keeps the ball fair(avoids dead pull).

In the case of outside location with tht mechanics,the bathead swings out while the handpath starts in a wider arc creating higher load.After the bathead has come out to some degree,then the "L" comes out of the back elbow and a small degree of flex comes out of the front elbow(while the front arm remains tightly connected to the rotating torso).This does slightly straighten the handpath which is one way to interpret what Paul Nyman calls "mini-casting".This late,but precontact,mini-casting nearly totally depletes torso enrgy and nearly stops torso rotation at contact.The result is still good batspeed with contact before deceleration with the bat angle that keeps the ball fair while giving a maximum window for timing error if you aim for contact perpendicular to the path of the pitch.Good batspeed and contact via less torso turn but more bathead extension as compared to the inside/bht swing.Timing error from tht/outside mechanics is higher in this situation,however,due to increased risk of deceleration just prior to contact if you are early,or low batspeed if you are consciously trying to make contact deeper than perpendicular to the pitch(fallacy of pinball analogy).

In summary,for RM you get bathead out before handpath loses it's arc.Handpath loses arc before contact only for away pitch(mini-casting).A small amount of casting can happen slightly before contact on outside pitch.Paul Nyman might describe this as flail then whip.Don't leave out the flail/ball on string/circular hand path portion of any swing.

For LM the arms extend the hand path,then the bathead swings out.This prevents sequential summing of lower then upper body energy.This can often be recognized as the low slap yourself on the back finish which results from the radically different S(houlder)-A(rm)-W(rist) action beloved by the linearist.The shoulder going first(chicken wing/loss of connection/front upper arm extension)is a bad form of casting and is death to the lower body/rotational swing.

To avoid undesired casting in the rotational swing,the "upper body program" needs to create and maintain connection,maintain a circular hand path for the first portion of the swing and avoid having the bat overshoot the power plane perpendicular to the torso,among other things.


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